It's been intriguing how much she is able to paint intuitively, without thinking about what needs to be done. Indeed she does better work when she does not stop to think about or "analyze" the painting. When the intuition takes over, the painting starts to take on a life of its own.
Creative activities are very stimulating for those with a dementia. The act of creating taps into the non-verbal areas of the brain. While memory and language start to disappear with dementias, for some reason creativity seems to stay, allowing emotions and expression to take place in non-verbal ways. I have observed this in others while they were knitting, playing the piano, creating pictures with buttons, even while colouring. It seems to help with relaxation, and also stimulates memories of past times.
I think my mother and I will need just one more session to finish up this painting, then we can decide what she would like to try next. Working on art has been a great way to spend time together, and time I will cherish for years to come.